Mark Dilley wins Atlantic Dodge Dealers 300 at Riverside BARRIE, ON -- Mark Dilley scored his first win in the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series on Sunday night at Antigonish, Nova Scotia's Riverside International Speedway. It was an emotional ...
Mark Dilley wins Atlantic Dodge Dealers 300 at Riverside
BARRIE, ON -- Mark Dilley scored his first win in the new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series on Sunday night at Antigonish, Nova Scotia's Riverside International Speedway. It was an emotional victory for the driver of the #9 Dodge-sponsored Avenger for several reasons.
As he took the checkered flag to win the Atlantic Dodge Dealers 300, Dilley told his team, over the radio, "This one's for my mom." In late August, Mark's mother, Elizabeth, passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Asked about his emotions as he was crossing the finish line, the Barrie, ON resident said, "I was really just thinking about my mom, to be honest. And I wish my dad [Dave Dilley] was here today to see this but he's back home [in Ontario] taking care of things."
In addition to his family's loss in recent weeks, Dilley's previous two NASCAR Canadian Tire Series outings had ended in frustration. The Riverside win provided an emotional lift for the entire #9 Dodge / Mobil1 / Exide / MOPAR / Leland / Wild Wing / CRS / Atlantic Carrier / Comfort Pro Dodge Avenger team.
"It's just a really exciting day for us, especially to win another Dodge-sponsored race. I wish they sponsored all of them," smiled Dilley. "It's been a very tough time lately since my mom passed. Tough for my whole family, including my dad, my brother and myself. And it's really affected the whole race team. We tried our best the past few races, but I can see now that I was kind of off my game because I had a lot of things running through my head."
Dilley continued, "I can't say enough for the guys at the Whitlock Motorsports shop and my team. These guys battled so hard today -- with me running out of gas and a bunch of other stuff -- that it's really nice to be able to win for them. They're a great bunch of guys and they did an awesome job.
Discussing the race itself, Dilley had a good feeling about the beautiful new racetrack in Antigonish. The only hiccup during the race was when he ran out of fuel after an extended green flag period in the middle portion of the race.
"It was a good race. I found I was able to move up and down the track pretty well, which reminded me a lot of Calgary [Race City Speedway] and you know I love that place. I just tried to take it easy at the start and save the tires, thinking that it was going to go 'green' for a long run. But I didn't think it was going to be green for that long."
Running low on gas -- while in second place -- the caution flag flew to end the long green run on lap 203. Moments later, the #9 Dodge slowed to a crawl, out of fuel.
"I ran out of gas and the guys pushed it down pit road to our stall and put fuel into it. We made a couple of stops and changed all four tires. And then I went out and got my lap back on the track."
From there, Dilley took the lead from J.R. Fitzpatrick on lap 263 and never looked back, finishing almost a second ahead of Fitzpatrick and DJ Kennington. With the win, the #9 Dodge-sponsored Avenger climbed to seventh in the overall NASCAR Canadian Tire Series points with one race remaining.
LOOKING AHEAD: Returning to Kawartha
This coming Sunday, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series heads to Kawartha Speedway for the season-ending Dodge Dealers of Ontario Dodge Charger 250. Dilley won the final CASCAR Super Series race last September, at Kawartha, and is hoping to carry over momentum from Riverside to complete his late-season surge.
"I'm really looking forward to going back to Kawartha," said Dilley. "We had success winning the last ever CASCAR race there last year. And the race is sponsored by Dodge again-- and we seem to do well in those races. So we'll get ready and hopefully we can end the season with another good run."
RACING WITH JAMES TURNER CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT
The 8th annual Racing With James Turner Charity Golf Tournament will take place on Tuesday, September 25 at the beautiful National Pines Golf Club near Barrie, Ontario. Those interested in participating or supporting the tournament should call Mark Dilley (705) 733-8849 or Linda Jones (705) 458-4044.